Pre-Christmas time was very busy for me last year, mostly due to several portrait commissions. One of them was this sleeping baby boy. The unusual thing about this painting is how small it is - 6x6 inches. I don't even typically offer portraits this small. However, it was requested by a loyal collector and I decided to give it a try. It turned out fairly easy to work on (not too much fiddling with tiny brushes) and looked good when finished.
(If you are interested in a custom painting, go here.)
I am still sort of recuperating from that busy painting period... It allowed me to keep paying off my new Mac and buy some framing equipment. In the absence of art fairs or gallery shows, commissions are my main source of art-related income (that, and classes now). But painting only custom work can be much more exhausting than working on whatever you feel inspired to paint. Ever since Christmas, I found it extremely hard to motivate myself to do pretty much anything. Of course, there are things I have to do and I do them - but anything not-so-mandatory, like being creative and active, just falls through my fingers.
The good thing is, once I realized that what is happening is just a good old burnout (mixed in with pregnancy, sickness, and stay-at-home-mom stuff), I also became interested in getting myself out of it. I restarted work on a few more commissions and checked out art books at the library. I looked through the long-term and short-term goals that I wrote down last year and found out that, for example, some goals that I was skeptical about at the time, I have achieved relatively easily. I also bought The Right-Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee, after reading a comment about it on Artists Helping Artists (another good motivational resource). I received it in the mail today and I'm looking forward to ....something. Some kind of a breakthrough, upswing, burst of creative energy.
I'm also considering another painting challenge for myself. Maybe 100 landscapes. Or a month of daily paintings. A Portrait A Day didn't quite make it to over 200 portraits I had in mind - but it was a good project nevertheless. I learned a lot, I met new people, I grew. Something like that, maybe not quite as ambitious (especially since I'm about to have another baby) could be good.
How do you get yourself back on an upward curve? I'd love to hear some ideas :)